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Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison

Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison(1957)

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teaser Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957)

Robert Mitchum swore he only found out he was playing a Marine in his next picture when someone came over to fit him for a uniform. Lucky for him the shoot for Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison--a drama about a Marine (Mitchum) and a nun (Deborah Kerr) marooned together on a Pacific island, and intended as a spiritual sequel to The African Queen by Twentieth Century-Fox executives--ended up being one of the most positive experiences of Mitchum's career. Shot in three months on Tobago, with a screenplay chastened up considerably from its racy book source, the shoot was a lively one, full of near-miss explosions and sharp coral reefs. Mitchum got along famously with fellow hellraiser John Huston for all the predictable reasons, but he also found great kinship in the more mannered Deborah Kerr. Their on-screen chemistry was no illusion--the legendary tough guy would massage Kerr's abused feet after difficult takes. (It also amused him how she'd curse a blue streak while still in her nun costume.) Kerr was "the only leading lady I didn't go to bed with", said Mitchum, and he meant it as a tremendous compliment.

By Violet LeVoit

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